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John Burgess Wilson better known to the reading public as Anthony Burgess is regularly lauded by critics and peers for his imagination his humor his varied knowledge and his sheer productivity Abundantly reflected in Burgesss fiction is his Roman Catholic background which is part of an ancient regional and family heritage Mr Burgess says I was brought up a Catholic became an agnostic flirted with Islam and now hold a position which may be termed ManicheeI believe the wrong God is temporarily ruling the world and the true God has gone under It is through his Manichean position that Burgess uses his novels as a social commentary based on his desire for free will and free thought While the novels written by Anthony Burgess contained at times deplorable violence they also conveyed his points accurately and intelligently For example in A Clockwork Orange a form of teenage dialect nadstat was used to downplay the actual violent crimes being committed while still shocking the educated reader Malafry 1 Burgesss novels are entertaining shocking and amusing but more importantly they revel ever deepening shades of meaning as they are reread meanings that challenge the imagination as they force readers to consider the human plight De Vitis 89 One such plight which is a central theme in many of Burgesss works is his resentment towards the state Urged through several protagonists is the defense of self no matter how twisted it may be Condemned is the state no matter how benevolent it pretends to be Coale 14 An additional important factor that explains why Burgess feels the way he does about the state and society in general is his firm belief in Manichee Shockingly his vision of the world as one of constant reversals and repetitions within the ongoing conflict between good and evil reveals an essentially conservative Catholic eschatology Coale 12 Burgess believes so passionately in Manichee because it accurately explains to him the condition
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